The Wonders of Veins Hx! Dr. Claire Arcidiacono, ND For our product spotlight I wanted to pick one of my favorites for circulation. This formula is called Veins Hx! Veins Hx is a formula made of a combination of vitamins and extracts that studies …
Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) and Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI), also known as Poor Circulation! Dr. Claire Arcidiacono, ND Anyone who has ever had to stand for long periods of time knows what it feel like when you start moving around. That tired, cramping and overall …
Olive Leaf Extract for the Heart!
Dr. Claire Arcidiacono, ND
Now I know I said I’d be highlighting some unexpected products when it comes to heart health and this blog is certainly a unique take on a common supplement! This supplement is Olive Leaf! As I’ve said in the past I like to recommend supplements that have many benefits and olive leaf fits the bill!
One of the ways that studies have found olive leaf helps heart health is by its affects on cholesterol. Olive leaf has been found to help prevent LDL from building up in the arteries. This is important because the buildup of LDL in the arteries can cause an increase in blood pressure and even increase the risk of developing heart disease. (1) Olive leaf has also been shown in studies to lower the actual LDL numbers. (2) So what can we take away from this? Basically olive leaf can lower our LDL cholesterol and even help prevent the LDL from building up in our arteries. Having high cholesterol is something that I’m personally seeing in younger people all the time. According to these studies for anyone with high cholesterol olive leaf can be a great addition to a protocol.
Other studies using olive leaf have found it to be helpful in restoring a normal heartbeat in those who experience arrhythmia or in laymen terms irregular heartbeats. (3) Additionally, olive leaf has been found in studies to help lower blood pressure. (4) This is important because an increase in our blood pressure is a risk factor for many different health concerns such as heart attack and even stroke. One pathway that studies have found that olive leaf is able to lower blood pressure is by helping to relax the muscles in the arteries so that they open wider. (5) Think of your arteries like a straw and your about to drink a milk shake. A more narrow straw requires more pressure or force to get the milk shake to go through it then a nice wide open straw would.
Olive leaf is also helpful in protecting our heart by helping to reduce some of the risk factors for heart disease. Newer studies have found that olive leaf can help with reducing the risk of obesity. Newer studies have also found that using olive leaf can help to reduce the risk of insulin resistance which as we learned in the diabetes blog is a risk factor for both diabetes and heart disease. (6) Studies have found olive leaf to be what “cardio protective” is. What this basically means is that olive leaf protects the heart from being damaged from stressors such as oxidative stress. (7)
Overall, I find olive leaf helpful for the heart because as the studies have shown us, it helps with lowering the LDL cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, helping with normalizing arrhythmia and even helps stop the LDL from clumping together. As I have said it also helps with some of the risk factors for developing heart disease and high blood pressure.
Olive leaf does many things for our health in addition to helping our heart. One common use is to boost our immune system. Olive leaf has been found to increase white blood cells which are an important part of how we fight infections. Olive leaf has been found in studies to be antibacterial, antiviral and even helps against the fun guys I mean fungus! (8) One of the most common infections I use olive leaf to help with is in those who suffer from chronic UTIs or yeast infections. Why is it my favorite for these? Because as studies show it is fantastic at increasing white blood cells and helps kill off the “bad guys”. (8)
New studies using olive leaf to help with brain health are very promising. In fact the antioxidant effects of olive leaf have been shown in new studies to may help with the loss of dopamine neurons found in Parkinson’s disease. Studies are also finding that the main antioxidant in olive leaf may be able to provide protection against Alzheimer’s disease! (9)
To wrap things up olive leaf is great for heart health, weight management, diabetes, our immune system and is an overall powerful antioxidant. Find olive leaf in Invite’s Olive Leaf Extract, Normo-tensive and in our Renalaid formula.
Our next blog will be about peripheral artery disease (PAD) or as it is colloquially known as “poor circulation”.
Collagen for the Heart?
Dr. Claire Arcidiacono, ND
In my last blog I mentioned that I would be reviewing a few supplements for the heart that you normally don’t associate with heart health. The first such supplement is collagen! Collagen is an important building block for many parts of the body. Remember those valves I wrote about in the anatomy of the heart blog? Those valves are very important in keeping blood flowing in the right direction. Well collagen is a huge part of these valves and the muscles that work to open and close them. According to studies without enough collagen in the body these valves don’t function optimally. In fact deficiencies in collagen proteins may lead to valve disease. (1)
In addition to helping with the valves of the heart collagen has been found to help certain blood markers that are used to treat heart health. Studies have found collagen to help with lowering LDL and lowering blood pressure. Additionally studies have found that collagen can even increase the levels of HDL which helps to protect the heart! (2, 3)
Collagen has also been found to help in fighting atherosclerosis or the buildup of plaque that occurs in both our heart and in our blood vessels. (4) In addition to being important to our heart itself collagen is also an important part of our blood vessels. Basically what collagen does is allow our arteries to be flexible and elastic. This is important for things such as our blood pressure. When there is a deficiency of collagen the arteries will become less flexible. This can in the long term lead to blood pressure going up and thus it can increase our risk of complications such as heart attack and stroke! (5)
Studies have found so many uses for collagen in keeping us healthy! For example as I mentioned in my series on joint health collagen can help with the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Studies have found that taking collagen supplement can help with general joint pain and even joint stiffness! (6) Related to our joint health in way is our bone health. Our bones are basically made of 2 parts and these are the mineral part and the collagen part. Picture a ladder that is filled with pillows. That is basically our bones. The ladder is the mineral part and the collagen the soft pillow part. Studies indicate that collagen supplements may slow the breakdown of bone which is what leads to a decrease in our bone density. (7)
Collagen has also been found in studies to help with our muscle strength and health. This is particularity true for those that are experiencing sarcopenia or loss of muscle mass that occurs as we age. (8) This may be something that you may say but wait I’m still young! Why do I need to care about something that may not happen for years? Because as I always say it is better to prevent a problem now than actually have to treat a problem after it occurs.
From both studies and my own practical experience, I can tell you that collagen is excellent for gut health. For anyone with leaky gut syndrome collagen can be a wonderful addition to any treatment protocol.
But these concerns are just our internal “stuff” as they say. What about our hair, skin and nails? Does collagen do anything for these structures? The answer is yes! Collagen is one of the building blocks for these structures and studies show that collagen can help maintain their health. (9)
One of the questions I get asked all the time is how do I use the Collagen Hx ? My answer is in any way that you will be able to do consistently. For example if you make a daily shake adding collagen is an easy way to take it. However if you hate shakes then that’s not the choice for you. It is better to add it to a beverage you do like. Drink a daily cup of tea or even coffee? Add your collagen to help make your regular beverage a nutritious start to your day. Do you like to start your day with yogurt or even oatmeal? Collagen can be added to both of these! Collagen is also fine mixed with plan water too! Remember what I always say about consistency. It is key to the way supplements work. And don’t be afraid to try new things. You might try a fruit smoothie with collagen and find you love it!
In our next blog I will be talking about blood pressure which is an important topic for everyone no matter their age.